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Archive for the ‘Gov. Charlie Crist’ Category

Sen. “Stand-In” George LeMieux (R-FL) is nearing the end of his career as a placeholder for incoming Sen. Marco Rubio, but he won’t be leaving without doing as much damage as possible in the ongoing GOP War on Americans, in which he is an eager participant. Usually Sen. LeMieux can be found almost daily nagging every move President Obama and the Democrats make via Twitter, and his skill with stretching the imagination is quite something to behold.

When he isn’t nitpicking on Twitter he can be found in the Senate where he can do actual damage rather than merely gossiping, and there his skills are more akin to hostage taking. His pet issue for months has been the same of his Grand Obstructionist Party colleagues: tax cuts for the rich, or the “Millionaire Bailout,” because let’s face it, that’s what pretty much what it amounts to. LeMieux has been brazenly vocal in this department. In October, he cut off unemployment benefits because he didn’t get those tax cuts, claiming that they were really (and stop me if you’ve heard this fiction before) “tax hikes” and going further to say that while unemployment benefits would be nice, he just couldn’t allow them:

“While we’re all certainly sympathetic and want to work to make people go back to work — my home state of Florida certainly suffering with very high unemployment — we need to know how we’re going to pay for it so we don’t put this debt on our children and grandchildren.”

Tax cuts which aren’t paid for however, are another thing entirely to Sen. Stand-In. The unemployed will have to suffer at the feet of penny pinchers like him and settle for dumpster diving for dinner if he and his millionaire friends can’t dine on say, caviar.

Well,  George won’t be leaving without at least one more hostage crisis. This time it’s the DREAM Act. He’s been dancing around that issue for a while with mixed messages as to why he won’t vote in favor of it. Recently his reason for voting against it was to “secure the border first.” Now he’s gone back to the party line excuse, one he knows well, and the Senate Majority Leader’s office is taking notice:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Hispanic media spokesman, José Dante Parra, is accusing George LeMieux — a target of Dream Act activists — with coming up with different reasons for voting against the measure.

“It is unfortunate that Sen. Lemieux continues to move the goal posts on a bill as critical as the DREAM Act,” Parra said in an e-mail. “He has raised concerns throughout the past months on border security and procedure around the DREAM Act, and all of those concerns have been addressed.”

“Now, Sen. Lemieux has signed a letter released by Republican leadership vowing to block all legislation in the Senate including DREAM, unless we first give tax cuts to the rich,” Parra said. Our overstretched military cannot wait any longer to have access to quality recruits who want to defend their country. Our economy cannot afford to lose the talent of students who would spur economic growth with their work and by paying taxes. We hope Sen. Lemieux will consider the benefits to our country and support this bill based on its merits, not the obstruction of his leadership.”

I think they needn’t hold their breathe waiting around for LeMieux to do the right thing. He’s been a willing puppet for the GOP, starting with selling out the man who sent him to the Senate in the first place, Charlie Crist, and doing so faster than you can say “Wall Street Fundraiser.”

Now he’ll go out with one last group of hostages, students who indeed have a dream which he’ll gladly strip away.

If George LeMieux and the Republicans can’t get that Millionaire Bailout that they so desperately want, then LeMieux has just one thing to say to them:

Dream on.

 

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Well, we’re down to just a few days before the elections and things are getting a little hectic, so there are a couple of new developments worth mentioning.

And no, as of this writing no one has dropped out of the Senate race. All three candidates, Kendrick Meek, Charlie Crist, and Marco Rubio are still out there roaming the state.

As you know by now, Charlie Crist tried his best to shove Kendrick Meek out of the race, but that’s not happening. The latest word there is that Charlie seems to have gotten a little desperate in his quest. First trying to call Meek around 5:00 A.M on that fateful morning last week and leaving a voice mail, and later cornering a reluctant Meek at an event where they were both speaking and offering Meek an “option” of sorts. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Meek said he tried to avoid Mr. Crist, but as he left the stage, “there he was, right in front of me.”

“He said, ‘If you were to drop out and work with me and help me we together can beat Marco Rubio,’” Mr. Meek recalled. “I said, ‘Governor, that’s a non-starter.’

“Then he dug down into his pocket and pulled a small cross out,” Mr. Meek continued. “He said his sister gave it to him and he wanted to give it to me so I would think about it.”

Feel free to hum a few bars of the theme from the Twilight Zone here.

Of course, Meek had recently rallied with Bill Clinton, who was also rumored to be involved, depending on who you believe, and that caused a little head scratching about why he would campaign for Meek one day, only to try to get him to drop out a couple of days later.

Well, now there’s word that Clinton will make another trip back to campaign with Meek on election-eve in Orlando, where they will also join Alex Sink.

But don’t panic. As crazy as politics are in the Sunshine State at the moment I don’t think Bill Clinton will be asking either Meek or Sink to drop out of their respective races.

Of course, I can’t promise that “Chuckie” Crist won’t be lurking somewhere offstage with a cellphone, cross in hand….

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Fresh from the “dropping out, not dropping out” debacle last night between Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek, not unsurprisingly Marco Rubio is trying to benefit from it all. (Not that there aren’t speculations that the Republicans may have been involved somewhere along the way.) So naturally the  currently “I’m not with the GOP” (I’m you, perhaps?) Rubio comes out with this nugget o’ hypocrisy:

“If you ever needed a reminder of what’s wrong with American politics today this story is a great reminder of back door deals.”

Pardon moi? I couldn’t agree more. Back room deals are a no-no in the minds of voters. But this coming from the king of the back room dealers? His entire career is practically built on back room deals. He’s the one hiding his credit card records, and under investigation by the IRS, not the other two. Of course when you charge personal expenses on Party credit cards that’s understandable.

Take it from the hero of the Taj Mahal, those who make back room deals, like Rubio, ARE indeed what’s wrong with American politics today.

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First Sarah Palin took credit for Marco Rubio’s “Roguey, Mavericky-ness,” while Marco “fled the interview” (so to speak) at a rally last weekend and ducked out to avoid Palin, and now Charlie’s kindly bringing them back together again. One big happy family. “You betcha’! (Well, until she gets “Katherine Harris-ed,” anyway. But don’t tell Sarah!)

Oh, and “Don’t forget to find Charlie on line nine.”

Also, too.

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There was another debate between Florida U.S. Senate candidates Kendrick Meek (D), Charlie Crist (WHAT-DAY-IS-IT) and Marco Rubio (JEB-PULLS-MY-STRINGS-AND-KARL-ROVE-FUNDS-ME) yesterday. As usual the media is following the sound bytes designed by Tea Bagger in chief Marco Rubio and running with it. He’s hoping all will be distracted by his little quip claiming he was being “heckled” by Charlie Crist. Ha ha. Hilarious. He’ll never be a comedian, but let’s make sure he loses his day job anyway, shall we?

Here’s what Rubio is hoping you missed:

Crist: “Why don’t you release the credit card records?”

Rubio began sputtering that he was being heckled, and then Charlie tried to up the clever witticism ante by saying: “Welcome to the NFL.” Ha ha.

They both hoped you wouldn’t hear Kendrick Meek, who said this of Rubio:

“We should not federalize Marco Rubio. He is thinking of ideology that would put the middle class in the hole forever.”

And this of Crist:

“The reason why the governor’s argument doesn’t really penetrate Florida voters is because he’s been all over the board” on issues.

Yes, they made these statements, but you have to dig to find them in the newspapers, and you’ll probably never hear them from the Pun-ditz shows today. They will drown out anyone who mentions them.

However, the statements are true. Rubio is under investigation by the IRS over those very credit cards, he won’t release his credit card records from 2004 to 2005, and unless you’re the type who will elect a candidate based on what they tell you rather than what they actually do, Kendrick Meek summed it up rather well. Electing Rubio would be a disaster. Meek also has Crist pegged. Crist has made pandering an art form.

Unfortunately, the money machine behind Rubio is big enough to drown out everyone else, and Crist has taken so many stands in the past when he still admitted he was a Republican that the Florida landscape is littered with pander-fatigued amnesia cases. Unfortunately that has left our best hope Meek the epitome of “nice guys finish last.” In this case, the “nice guy” is also the “people’s guy.”

Whatever you do, don’t follow the bouncing sound byte.  Do the State Of Florida and the country a favor before you head to the polls. Every vote in this election is critical in so many ways. We will either fair badly, or much worse.

Please do your homework before you cast your vote.

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Marco Rubio: The Hero Of The "Taj Mahal"

It seems that Marco Rubio again finds himself in the center of that circular firing squad as the “hero of the Taj Mahal” no matter how hard he tries to squirm out of it.

As you’ll recall, Rubio made the secret “hero’s list” in an e-mail for securing funds to build the monstrosity of a courthouse. Rubio claims to suffer from a bit of amnesia on the subject. For those of you not familiar with this particular Rubio scandal, here’s a bit of a refresher:

The St. Petersburg Times has obtained an e-mail which made the rounds among judges on the Taj Mahal courthouse committee that calls Rubio a “hero” and “especially helpful” when it came to delivering the money to build the courthouse. That’s the Tallahassee courthouse that was built with millions in funds from the State Workers Compensation Trust Fund that provided things like 60 inch flat screen televisions, private kitchens with granite countertops, private bathrooms and chambers paneled with mahogany for each judge. To the tune of $48 million. This at the same time that budgets were being cut and workers were laid off.

Rubio has claimed to know little about it, contrary to what his former appropriations chairman Ray Sansom says. Sansom is criminally charged with grand theft on another unrelated appropriations case.

A grand jury in Leon County will be looking into the courthouse funding when it meets in late September.

Also noticeable on the list are several other members of the Republican Party Of Florida who found themselves completely in the clear in their audit of their own party’s spending, but did find fault with former member Charlie Crist and Jim Greer. The audit was done by the company that audited Enron.  Those who made the “Heroes” and “Especially Helpful” list, from the Times article:

The heroes list

The building committee of the 1st District Court of Appeal circulated an e-mail in 2008 that identified the “heroes” behind the new courthouse and lauded the few who were “especially helpful.” Here is the list, without the names of six Senate and 10 House staffers:

“Especially helpful”

House Speaker Marco Rubio

Sen. Victor Crist

Rep. Marti Coley

Rep. Ron Reagan

“Other Heroes”

Senate President Ken Pruitt

Sen. Alex Villalobos

Sen. J.D. Alexander

Sen. Lisa Carlton

Rep. Ray Sansom

Rep. Dennis Ross

Rep. Dean Cannon

Rep. Will Weatherford

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp

FSU President T.K. Wetherell

Lobbyist Stephen W. Metz

Lobbyist Peter M. Dunbar

Lobbyist John E. Thrasher (since elected to the Senate)

Now, it seems one of the other “especially helpful” recipients claims he was wrongly accused and joins the others who are pointing the finger of blame squarely at Rubio, saying “I don’t know anything about that. That was Marco Rubio and (Jeff) Atwater.”
Dennis Ross said today he is unfairly being tied to former legislators who were involved in the 1st District Court of Appeal Courthouse scandal in Tallahassee.

Ross left the Florida House in 2008 after reaching his term limit and is now the Republican candidate for the 12th Congressional District.

The congressional race has become heated on all sides, with the three candidates, which also include Democrat Lori Edwards and Tea Party candidate Randy Wilkinson, playing hardball.

Ross said being tied to the scandal of the extravagant courthouse, now dubbed “the Taj Mahal,” is purely political. He is being singled out, he said, because the lawyer on the other side of the courthouse case represents police and fire unions, and those unions did not endorse him….

Ross said his name being put on a “heroes list” by the courthouse’s promoters after the money to build it was approved, was incorrect. That list singled out individual legislators to be thanked for their special help in getting the new courthouse built.

Ross said he was not involved in the decision to build the “Taj Mahal” because that was in 2007, a year in which he opposed a property insurance plan supported by Republican leaders.

For his opposition, he was was stripped of his chairmanship of the House Insurance Committee and his post on the leadership council.

“I didn’t know anything more about it than any other of the 119 rank-and-file members in the House, because I had already been removed when it (the courthouse) came up,” he said. “I didn’t even know I was on a ‘heroes list’ until all this came out.

“It may be because my name was still on the council roster after I had been stripped of all my memberships and they just assumed I voted for it. Nobody has asked me about it, they just printed that I was on a heroes list.

“I don’t know anything about that. That was Marco Rubio and (Jeff) Atwater.”

Senate President Jeff Atwater told The Ledger in an interview last week he had nothing to do with the courthouse because he was not president of the Senate then.

So I guess that brings us right back to self-proclaimed “fiscal conservative” Marco Rubio, who is anything but. Today’s St. Petersburg Times has a great refresher course on those facts and figures as well. You can read that here.

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The League of Women Voters and PBS had to call off both gubernatorial and Senate televised debates today because Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott all declined to participate.

The sponsors said they’d lined up Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff of PBS’s The NewsHour to moderate the debates Thursday in Orlando.

They couldn’t, though, get commitments from either Republican, Senate candidate Marco Rubio and gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, nor from Gov. Charlie Crist, who left the GOP to run for the Senate as an independent.

The two Democrats, Senate candidate Kendrick Meek and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink, accepted, but the League and public TV system don’t allow empty chair debates.

Ducking debates seems to be going around this year, particularly among Republicans and “Tea Bagger” candidates. Alan Grayson recently was the only participant in his debate when his opponent Daniel “Taliban Dan” Webster was a no show.

How can one expect a candidate to be any kind of leader when they’re afraid to debate or answer a few questions from the media?

What are they afraid of? That voters will see for themselves that they don’t know what they’re doing or that they are woefully unqualified?

If you can’t show up, you certainly don’t deserve our votes.

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been in the news a lot lately and for good reason. They are one of the larger contributors to political campaigns for Republicans in particular. They also have a great deal of foreign membership and get a lot of foreign money. One of the reasons they’ve been in the news so much recently is the concern over how much foreign money may be influencing United States elections.

Think Progress has done a great deal of research on the Chamber money trail and have a couple of recent posts worth reading if you’re not familiar with the issue. One shows a graphic illustrating how the Chamber gets its foreign money.

One thing that caught my attention was how much money the Chamber is spending on political campaign attack ads:

Earlier this week, a ThinkProgress investigation found that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been raising funds from foreign-based corporations to solicit funding for their general 501(c)(6) entity, and that entity runs approximately $75 million worth of partisan attack ads. This week alone, the Chamber ran nearly $10.5 million in attack ads in many of the most competitive elections in America. Republican candidates in the nine Senate and 22 House districts are benefiting from the Chamber’s support.

According to Campaign Money Watch, some of that $10.5 million is going to Florida candidates. One of the top three candidates benefiting from the largest sums is none other than Marco Rubio. Rubio has received $1,000,000. That amount is topped by only two other candidates on the list, Carly Fiorina in California and Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. Rubio is not the only Florida candidate getting those funds.

Expenditures for Republican candidates in Florida filed by the Chamber on Oct. 5 were the following:

Marco Rubio    $1,000,000, for attack ads against Charlie Crist (I-FL)

Sandy Adams   $250,000, for attack ads against Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL)

Dan Webster    $250,000, for attack ads against Alan Grayson (D-FL)

Also from the Campaign Money Watch site:

Campaign Money Watch today called on 31 federal candidates to join its effort to demand the U.S. Chamber of Commerce answer questions about the use of its foreign corporate dues in political advertising.

The letter sent to those candidates reads in part:

Recent news coverage surfaced significant and serious questions about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce use of foreign corporate funding for electoral activities. We are also troubled that evidence suggests that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in raising money overseas, has promised to represent the business interests of foreign corporations in Washington, D.C.

Since the Chamber has spent money in your election, we urge you to join us in demanding that the Chamber answer these important questions about their foreign funding and their representation of those overseas corporations. If they cannot or will not provide evidence to back up their claims, we urge you to join us in demanding that the Chamber remove all advertising or other electoral activities from your race…..

….This recent revelation goes beyond simple disclosure of campaign spending. The Chamber’s acceptance of foreign corporate money into the same account from which it is funding attack ads crosses the line of democratic decency. But the Chamber’s response to this question of mingling foreign and domestic dues has been inadequate. A spokeswoman told a Washington Post reporter, “We don’t feel obligated to answer that question.”

This is a dangerous precedent to let stand. Unfortunately, the Chamber’s response so far has been to attempt to dismiss the allegations as if no principles were involved, and to loudly criticize those posing questions as political partisans. The Chamber diminishes the criticism by claiming that very little money has been received from overseas affiliates and dues-paying corporations. But it is not partisan politics that is at stake; rather, serious democratic principles and laws are potentially being violated. The law does not distinguish between small and large amounts of foreign corporate money influencing American elections. All foreign corporate money is prohibited.

Moreover, by accepting the dues of foreign corporations, the Chamber is operating as the political outpost for those interests in Washington by pledging to mold public opinion to benefit their members. The method the Chamber is employing today to shape public opinion is electoral advertising in your race and others around the country….

….We are not asking you to criticize the Chamber. We are simply asking you to join with us to “trust, but verify.” It is the very least that you, as a candidate for high office seeking the public’s trust, can do.

A copy of the entire letter to candidates can be read here.

It will be interesting to see if any of those Republican candidates will do what the letter asks. But for the party that never appears in public without a flag pin on their lapel, claims they are the party who most “support the troops” and the party that “keeps America safe” and are quick to call anyone who doesn’t agree with them “un-American,” I would like to see them put that money where their talking points are and honor this request.

As for Marco Rubio, his standard stump speech spouts that America is the greatest country in the world, that America is “exceptional” and that he “wants to take the country back.” I think he should explain to those who would vote for him and all the American people just where he wants to take the country back to? So far Rubio’s campaign has been funded not only by the Chamber, but by Dick Armey and FreedomWorks, Karl Rove and American Crossroads, which some have called for an investigation of, and several others, and those are just the ones we know of.

Call me crazy, but I think we deserve to know where the money is coming from.

The citizens of this country are the ones these candidates are elected to represent. Not the foreign countries who fund their campaigns.

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